Wednesday means short Bleats , some links, mayhap a photo. (There’s a word that needs to be revived: mayhap. It’s preferable to the pretentious perchance, although it has a fatal tint of Renaissance Faire dialogue.) Variety is necessary to any blog. If you demonstrate a certain amount of monomania, you’ll reduce your audience down to those who share your worldview, which might be smaller than you suspect. I think readers of general-interest sites will tolerate the occasional patch of monomania, but not if it’s Fevered Monomania. Long stretches of Fevered Monomania drive people away. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of this from time to time, but overall I think the balance works. Some alienating political blather here, some tiresome pop-cult rants here, some ootsy-cutesy kid stuff here, some interminable digressions about culture and commerce here, and you have a site that’s hard to dismiss for a single reason. I think when people go through their bookmarks and weed out the ones they don’t visit much anymore, I present a challenge. Was it one thing that made me stop going there, or several? Whatev.

I did some bookmark weeding today, and was a little surprised to note the sites I just don’t visit anymore: Fevered Monomania was usually the culprit. I’m sure I’ll return to those sites in the future and bookmark them again. That’s the wonderful thing about blogs: people just go off the rails from time to time, as people do.

Still reading the history of the Empire State Building, and came across a remarkable anecdote. (One or two per page, really – it’s such a fine book.) In the 30s the networks broadcast national shows from the toppermost of the ESB, and you imagine what it must have been like to sit in a kitchen in Witchita and listen to a live concert from the 86th floor in Manhattan. What a modern world, full of wonders. Well. WOR had a show called “Microphone in the Sky,” which aired at 1 PM, interviewing people on the observation deck. In October 1937 a man standing six feet from the mike threw himself off the deck one minute before air time. Here’s the difference between then and now:

“Although the broadcasters were stunned by the suicide, they remained calm, and pleaded with the crowd not to become hysterical. The program went on the air as usual, with no mention of the suicide.”

Why? Because people were tuning in to hear a happy Manhattan melody from the top of the ESB, that’s why. And if the broadcasters didn’t say it happened, then for the next half hour it hadn’t happened. Such a thing would be impossible now – the announcers would devote the entire show to the event, webcams would catch the fall, people would blog it from the lounge.

And the worst picture of all would be not the man plummeting, but a dozen people leaning over the railing, pointing their cellphones at the man, snapping a photo as he fell to his death.

Could you blame them? The more ubiquitous these things become, the more people’s instincts will shift from horrified helpless onlooker to impromptu archiver of random history.

Anyway. Today’s links:

New @, some updates to the First Day series in the Engraveyard.

Typos and mangled language are guaranteed, as with all sites I think I've fixed fro good.

New external links are of interest for architecture junkies only, and they probably know this site. It’s wirednewyork, a discussion forum for NYC architecture, skyscrapers in particular. People post the most amazing pictures here. Like this, or this, or this.

Finally, a photo, mayhap. This is where I write this thing. Is this what you expected? Some people seem to think my studio is all fifties-cool, but Jasperwood is an Arts and Crafts house. No tottering stacks of mags, either. Next week: a photo of the kitchen table, where I do the editing and uploading. Can you STAND the excitement? Nope. See you tomorrow.

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